Your SEO optimized title

How to cook perfectly flavored steamed veggies

How to cook perfectly flavored steamed veggies

A short time back, I had a friend ask me some basic questions about steaming veggies!  He doesn’t cook a lot but asked some really good questions that inspired me to create this post about the BEST techniques to use to produce flavored steamed veggies.

I have to be honest, steaming veggies hasn’t always been one of my favorite ways to cook.  Mainly because I never thought the technique resulted in great tasting, flavorful veggies, but actually that really isn’t the actual truth.

The biggest thing that I discovered in researching, cooking and preparing for this post is that there are some ways to create perfectly flavored steamed veggies.  However, steaming veggies actually allows the delicious flavor of the veggie to shine through while being enhanced by the ingredients, herbs and seasonings used to flavor them.

This post may contain affiliate links to products on Amazon. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Cooking veggies

Let’s start with a look at some of the methods most frequently used to cook vegetables.  These methods include roasting, steaming, boiling and sautéing.  Each type of cooking results in different flavors.

Roasting usually deepens the natural sweetness of a vegetable and is one of my favorite methods to use.

Sautéing veggies is a fast technique to use to cook veggies.  Both roasting and sautéing do require the use of oil though less is oil is needed when roasting.

Boiling vegetables is not a cooking process I generally use because a portion of the water-soluble nutrients such as all the B vitamins and vitamin C are lost in the cooking water.  Another reason is that I find the veggies are harder to keep crispy and often end up water-logged and bland.  As a note, usually when boiling veggies, flavor is always added at the end of cooking.

Steaming veggies is a simple technique to use and when done correctly results in veggies that are crisp and crunchy and where their natural flavor generally shines through.

Asparagus cut in half in steamer baskets, broccoli and green beans pictured with limon, garlic and herbs.

Which veggies to choose for steaming.

There is no doubt that some veggies work better to steam than others.  A lot of the root vegetables will require more time to cook so while you can likely steam carrots and beets, it may require more time than you would like to set aside when preparing dinner.

Some of my favorite veggies to steam include

  • Green beans
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Snow peas
  • Bok choy

The timing is going to vary for these veggies.  As a guideline more delicate veggies such as green beans, asparagus, snow peas and bok choy will take less time.  I suggest starting at 5 minutes and checking every couple of minutes after that point and remove them when they are at the texture you enjoy.  The thicker veggies such as carrots, broccoli and cauliflower will take anywhere from 10-15 minutes.

For me I like my flavored steamed veggies on the crunchier side so the smaller amount of time usually works for me.  Also, keep in mind that the smaller you cut the pieces the quicker they will most likely cook.

Steaming veggie basics

Steaming vegetables is pretty simple, but there are also a couple different ways you can jazz it up.  I start below with an outline of the basic way to steam any vegetable which will result in nice, crisp vegetables.  You can eat them naked just as they are once they steamed or you can choose to add some flavor.   Read further to discover some of my favorite flavors to use with steamed veggies.

The combinations you can create is truly limitless but here are a few of my favorites using variations on the method and also the flavors added to the veggies.

Basic method to steam veggies

Cut veggies into pieces.

Place about 1-2 inches of liquid in a pan, just enough to boil and create steam.  You don’t want the water to actually touch the veggies, so make sure that you only fill the pot up to just below the steamer basket or strainer that holds the veggies you are cooking.

When water boils.  Place strainer with veggies in the pan. Cover with lid.

Cook until veggies are tender but still a bit crispy to bite.

Cauliflower and parsley in steamer basket

Techniques for flavored steamed veggies

One of the benefits of steaming veggies is that it doesn’t require any additional oil.  But of course, in my home growing up usually steamed veggies ended up swimming in butter by the time they were served on the table.  So, what other methods, can you use to add flavor that don’t involve drowning the cooked veggies in butter or oil?  And what works best to flavor up veggies?

Consider adding these flavors to food.

  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh herbs – thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, tarragon
  • Garlic cloves
  • Lemon slices
  • Olive oil, peanut oil or sesame oil
  • Parsley

There are various techniques you an use to add flavors to steamed veggies.

  1. Add aromatic elements to the steaming water.  Aromatics are any fresh herbs, spices or vegetables with strong flavors including the items I listed above.
  2. Add flavor to the veggies after you remove the veggies from steaming
  3. Toss veggies in oil or chopped herbs prior to cooking.

How to steam veggies with lemon and herbs…

Flavored steamed veggies are made by filing pot with slices of limon, thyme and garlic cloves in water.Works great with asparagus, green beans, broccoli, spinach and cauliflower.

Cut up your veggies.

Place about 1-2 inches liquid in a pan, just enough to boil and create steam.  You don’t want it to actually touch the veggies so make sure that you only fill the pot up to just below the steamer basket or strainer that holds the veggies you are cooking.

Add your herbs and lemon slices to the water.  Cover with a lid and bring water to a low boil.  Allow the herbs to simmer in the water for 3-5 minutes to release the flavor.

Adjust the heat to bring the water to a full boil and place strainer with veggies in the pan. Cover with lid.

Cook until veggies are tender but still crunchy.

How to steam veggies with sesame oil, ginger and garlic

Works great with carrots, snow peas, bok choy and Chinese cabbage.

Cut up your veggies.

Place about 1-2 inches liquid in a pan, just enough to boil and create steam.  You don’t want it to actually touch the veggies so make sure that you only fill the pot up to just below the steamer basket or strainer that holds the veggies you are cooking.

Add sliced fresh ginger and smashed garlic cloves to the water.  Cover with a lid and bring water to a low boil.  Allow the herbs to simmer in the water for 3-5 minutes to release the flavor.

Toss veggies with a bit of minced ginger, fresh garlic and sesame oil to lightly cover.  Adjust the heat to bring the water to a full boil and place the strainer with veggies in the pan. Cover with lid.

Cook until veggies are tender but still crunchy.

How to steam veggies and flavor with garlic and parsley after cooking

Bowl of steamed cauliflower tossed with garlic and parsley.Works great with potatoes, cauliflower, corn, broccoli and green beans.

Cut up your veggies.

Place about 1-2 inches liquid in a pan, just enough to boil and create steam.  You don’t want it to actually touch the veggies so make sure that you only fill the pot up to just below the steamer basket or strainer that holds the veggies you are cooking.

And bring water to a boil.

When water boils.  Place strainer with veggies in the pan. Cover with lid.

Cook until veggies are tender but still crunchy.  Remove veggies from strainer and toss with a just a bit of olive oil to coat the veggies and add chopped parsley and minced garlic.

 

 

Equipment needed to steam veggies 

You don’t need any special equipment to begin steaming veggies today! You can accomplish this task with only a pot with a lid and a colander or strainer so if you have them on-hand you can get to steaming veggies right away.  I also like to use a wok and steamer basket as well because the steamer basket usually fits perfectly into the wok and sits above the water.  Here are some of my favorites to consider adding to your kitchen equipment collection if you don’t have the right stuff to begin cooking today!

These are affiliate links to products on Amazon. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Steamer pot

The pot pictured here on the left is super affordable and comes with a lid and steamer insert.  You simply fill up the bottom portion with water and place the steamer insert on top.

 

Strainer

The strainer (right) is great to use along with a pot that you already have in your kitchen.  Plus you can also use it to drain and strain other cooked ingredients.  This is similar to what I used to steam the veggies in this post.  It’s 9″ at the top and will set easily into a pot with a slightly larger diameter.

 

 

Why I recommend eating more flavored steamed veggies

I know that steamed veggies will definitely be appearing in my meals a lot more frequently now.  These are my top reasons why you and I BOTH should be eating more perfectly flavored steamed veggies!!

  1. The true advantage to steaming veggies is that it doesn’t require any additional fat to cook.  So you can use a small amount just to add a bit of flavor giving you a bit more control over where fat appears in your meal.
  2. It’s super simple to prepare.
  3. The flavor of the veggies truly shines through.
  4. It results in a super crunchy-soft texture and you have more control over making sure that the texture is how YOU want it!

I want to hear from you.  Tell me what are your favorite flavors to steam veggies?  How did you like using one or all of these techniques to cook flavored steamed veggies?  You can tell me in the comments here on the blog.  If you liked this post, I hope you will check out these other dishes that will pair well with a side of steamed veggies!!

 

pin for pinterest

Red Wine Miso Mushroom Sauce & Creamy Polenta

Cooking a healthy meatless lasagna

 

 

 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *